|Cowboys WR Dez Bryant thought he had caught the game-winning TD pass in the waning seconds, but he was ruled out of bounds in the end zone and the Giants escaped with a win in Dallas. (US Presswire)|
This game was played less than a mile from the famous Six Flags theme park, but it has no rollercoaster like the ride the Cowboys and Giants gave fans for more than three hours Sunday.
The Giants took advantage of six turnovers, including three in the first half, to hang on for a dramatic, 29-24, win at Cowboys Stadium, a place in which they have never lost in four meetings.
New York (6-2) blew a 23-point first-half lead, only to rally back with a couple of field goals to lead the Cowboys (3-4) by five in the final four minutes.
Cowboys QB Tony Romo nearly pulled off the greatest comeback in team history and actually had his team ahead on the scoreboard with six seconds to play. But a spectacular catch by WR Dez Bryant, which was ruled initially as a touchdown to give the Cowboys a 30-29 edge, was overturned by the replay booth, stating Bryant’s right hand touched out of bounds before he landed in bounds.
Romo’s final heave landed out of the end zone as time expired, giving the Giants a dramatic win.
“Every time we come here, it’s a nail-biter in some way, shape or form,” Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. “You can’t describe it. I’m sure there’s an awful lot we are going to learn from this. But we are happy to win and be on our way home.”
With the victory, the Giants avenged an opening-day loss to the Cowboys.
When the game turned: When did it not turn? The Giants built a 23-0 lead thanks to three interceptions by Romo in the first half, the last of which returned by DE Jason Pierre-Paul for a touchdown. But the Cowboys then rallied for 24 straight, before the Giants had two straight field goals. So there were many turns, including the final reversal on Bryant’s apparent touchdown. But don’t forget the Cowboys were driving at the Giants’ 19 with 1:19 to play. Two straight plays on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1, the Cowboys chose not to run the ball and get the first down. Romo threw an incomplete pass and then a desperation interception.
Highlight moments: Whether it counted or not, Bryant’s catch in the back of the end zone was highlight-worthy. Obviously, it was the difference in the game, but for a player who had already lost a fumbled punt earlier in the game, then was benched as a punt returner, it would’ve been a brilliant turnaround for a guy who has been highly criticized his entire career.
Pierre-Paul had a perfectly-timed pick on Romo when he leaped in midair to snag the pass at the line of scrimmage, and darted to the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown.
Cowboys TE Jason Witten was basically unstoppable, catching a franchise-best 18 receptions, surpassing his own club record of 15 grabs set in 2007. Witten also set a personal-best with 167 receiving yards.
Giants S Stevie Brown has been a turnover-machine in the secondary, recording five interceptions in the last six games, including two on Sunday off Romo. Brown had a 37-yard return on his first pick, which led to a field goal. Brown also snagged a fourth-down throw by Romo and stayed in bounds to give the Giants the ball back with 1:03 to play.
- Cowboys TE Jason Witten -- 18 catches for 167 yards
- Giants FS Stevie Brown -- 6 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 pass deflections
What they said about Dez Bryant’s apparent touchdown that was overturned and ruled incomplete:
- Cowboys WR Dez Bryant: "When they took it away, my heart just dropped. I had my mind set that if the ball was thrown to me -- I don't care -- I was going to come down with it. And I came down with it. And I thought I was in. It's just frustrating."
- Giants head coach Tom Coughlin -- “It was reported down to me right away that the hand was out of bounds. It was just a matter of the official having the necessary time to make that call.
- Cowboys QB Tony Romo -- “It’s difficult when you think you’ve won the game and they obviously reversed the call. That’s tough because a lot of emotion comes out to get back into that position and you think you have it and it gets taken away. It’s kind of a little roller coaster.”
- Giants S Stevie Brown -- “When I saw it live on the field, it looked like he came down out of bounds. I was thinking, I was glad it was going to be challenged, because I didn’t think he caught it in bounds. But I was so relieved.”
- Giants DE Osi Umenyiora -- “It was bad. It was really bad. After going up 23-0 and having them come back like that and win… it was a bad feeling. But thankfully, it wasn’t in bounds."
Numbers you should know: Eli Manning is now 4-0 at Cowboys Stadium and the Giants are the only team in the NFL to have four victories since the stadium was built in 2009. But unlike previous games, Manning had one of his worst games, statistically, in recent years. Manning was 15 of 29 for 192 yards and one interception for a 58.4 rating.
Injury update: The Giants had a few injuries throughout the game, losing LB Chase Blackburn (hamstring) and TE Bear Pascoe (ankle). Safety Antrel Rolle was being checked out for a concussion after the game. For the Cowboys, LB Dan Connor left the game with a neck strain. Connor started in place of Sean Lee, who is out for the season with a toe injury.
Going forward: The Cowboys are 3-4 but it doesn’t get easier as they travel to face the undefeated Falcons next Sunday night, followed by a road game in Philadelphia. The Giants have two straight games against the AFC, returning home for a date with the Pittsburgh Steelers, followed by a road game in Cincinnati.